How We Experience Modern Verse  book cover
1st Edition

How We Experience Modern Verse

  • Available for pre-order on March 10, 2023. Item will ship after March 31, 2023
ISBN 9781032448824
March 31, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
192 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Poetry moves us. Sometimes a poem changes our life... Then we analyze it as a cultural artifact with no special connection to us. An extensive critical apparatus enables us to develop sophisticated interpretations, but we dismiss as "idiosyncratic" even life-changing experiences of poetry. We need an apparatus to unfold our experience of reading poems into a more effective relationship with the world. Modern poets in particular wrote prophetic verse for this purpose. Archetypal psychology and phenomenology describe the soul that modern poetry moves in us. Three prosodic mechanisms activate the psyche. The polyphony of accentual and quantitative versification creates depth to lure the soul. Aural images reshape the reader’s stream of consciousness. Readers follow the movement of blocks of verse across the expanse of the page with what Maurice Merleau-Ponty terms the phenomenal body. These mechanisms reach us at the collective level of consciousness and generate the power we need to solve big, collective challenges, such as race, climate change, and inequality.

Table of Contents


Part I: The Experience of Modern Verse

Chapter 1: Reading as an Experience of the Psyche

Chapter 2: Reading as an Experience of the Body

Part II: The Psychoactive Mechanisms of Modern Verse

Chapter 3: Polyphony

Chapter 4: Aural Images

Chapter 5: Movement

Part III: The Value of Experiencing Modern Verse

Chapter 6: An Earth of Value

Afterword: Teaching the Experience of Reading

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Eric Purchase is a professional writer for Gartner, Inc., a research and advisory firm, and an independent scholar. Previously he taught writing and literature for a dozen years at various universities. He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Connecticut. His previous books include Out of Nowhere (Johns Hopkins, 1999) and The Future of Reading (Routledge, 2019).